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Abstract

Whereas a growing corpus of research has investigated the impact of music practice on several domains of cognition, studies on the relationships between musicality and other abilities and skills in musically untrained children are scarce. The present study examined the associations between musicality, cognition, and sensorimotor skills in 69 musically untrained primary school children of around 10 years of age, using a test battery of musical, cognitive, and sensorimotor abilities. We analyzed the results using nonparametric correlations and an exploratory factor analysis. It was our anticipation that basic cognitive resources (short-term and working memory, attention, processing speed) would relate to both higher-order cognition and musicality. Results indicated that, in musically untrained children, the interconnections between musical and cognitive abilities restrain to auditory short-term and working memory. Direct associations between musicality and higher-order cognitive processes did not occur. An interesting secondary finding comprised associations between sensorimotor function, as measured by the Purdue Pegboard test, and higher-order cognition. Specifically, we found an association between bimanual coordination of fine finger dexterity and matrix reasoning. This outcome suggests that higher-order cognitive function benefits from an efficient mastering of procedural aspects of sensorimotor skills.

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